Monday , 2 October 2023

America’s Middle Class Is Imploding: 40% Of Households Cannot Afford the Basics Of A Middle-Class Lifestyle

…According to a new study obtained exclusively by Axios, more than 40% of households cannot afford the basics of a middle-class lifestyle, including rent, transportation, childcare and a cellphone.

The original article has been edited here for length (…) and clarity ([ ])

The study, conducted by the United Way ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project, a nationwide effort to quantify and describe the number of households that are struggling financially, discovered “a wide band of working U.S. households that live above the official poverty line, but below the cost of paying ordinary expenses.” Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D., Director of the ALICE Project, told Axios that, based on 2016 data, there were 34.7 million households in that group — double the 16.1 million that are in actual poverty.”

Axios reminds us that for two-years, U.S. politics has been overwhelmed by the anger and resentment of a self-identified abandoned class of people, dubbed the “deplorables,” a group of millions of Americans who have been left behind economically and forced into poverty…[and] suggests that these “deplorables” are a much larger group than many have anticipated — and growing despite the stock market trading at near record highs.

Axios provides a summary of the report that will be released on Thursday:

  • the economically forgotten are a far bigger group than many studies assume — and, according to Hoopes, appear to be growing larger despite the improving economy.
  • the…middle group between poverty and the middle class [are referred to as the] “ALICE” families, for Asset-limited, Income-constrained, Employed…[and consist of] households with adults who are working but earning too little — 66% of Americans earn less than $20 an hour, or about $40,000 a year if they are working full time.

The map below…depicts the state-by-state population [of ALICE families] in dark brown:

Poverty vs. income-constrained households (Share Below Poverty) 

Poverty vs. income-constrained households (Share Below ALICE Level) 

Axios said when you add them to Americans living in poverty, it comes out to a stunning 51 million households…Using 2016 data collected from the states, the study found that:

  • North Dakota has the smallest population of combined poor and ALICE families, at 32% of its households…[while]
  • California, Hawaii and New Mexico have the largest at 49% in each.

49% is shocking. 32% is also shocking.

Last month, President Trump wrote an op-ed in USA TODAY titled “America’s Economy is Back and Roaring and Its People Are Winning.” For the sake of America’s survivability, let us hope that Axios is wrong about their assessment of the middle class and Trump is right; otherwise, this is just more evidence that suggests the implosion of America’s middle class.

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